For more than a year, councillors have kept quiet while residents have sounded the alarm and created quite a bit of noise around a pair of developments slated for two portions of land in the city’s south end.
On April 9, time seemed to have folded in on itself as once again, residents filled the council chambers to hear the latest about these projects. In January of 2017, a similar sight was seen when the applications first came before councillors.
However, in the time between those two meetings, council has kept quiet, and rightfully so, as any opinions shared in the public could be seen to impact any future appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.
That is a reality the city is now facing.
It was an inevitability that these projects, with such public disdain, would have ended up before the provincial board. However, by getting their appeal in ahead of April 3, SO Developments (the developer behind the project), is now able to have their appeal heard under the old process, not the new Ontario Land Tribunal, which came into affect as of that date. Most significant about the timing is the developer is dodging a potential bullet in the fact that under the new process, much more weight is given to council decisions.
However, that is a moot point, as no council decision has been made and residents are now looking at taking their concerns to the OMB.
It’s time for council to join them.
Over the course of the last year, a petition with over 1,000 signatures has come before council, a strong sign of the opposition to the proposals in the community. And this is on top of the myriad of letters that continually filled council agendas, usually packaged together due to the sheer volume.
In total, nearly 300 letters were received by council. Many of the letters previously reviewed by The Oshawa Express included the names of multiple residents on a single letter and many stated their opposition to both developments.
This should be a clear sign to councillors that residents have serious issues with these projects, and if that wasn’t obvious enough, all they need to look at is the sheer number of people that filled their chambers on Monday night.
As council is set to take a position on these projects before the OMB, they would be best to remember this past year, and what residents have been telling them.